Announcing Music Camp 2019

At the end of last year we promised that 2019 would have some exciting announcements and today we are ready to announce the first of these, Music Camp 2019.

Music Camp 2019 is designed to bring together blind and Deafblind youth ages ten to eighteen from across the province for eight days on Bowen Island, BC, to learn the basics of playing musical instruments, build peer support networks, have fun, and gain confidence essential for full and equal participation in school band and other music programs in their communities alongside their sighted peers. Campers will explore the beginner band curriculum and will participate in an end of camp concert that their families, friends, and the Bowen Island community will be invited to attend. Giving campers skills and confidence in music fundamentals means campers can go on to take part in school band and community music programs.

Blind and Deafblind students face significant challenges when beginning in music programs due to the highly visual nature of the methods commonly used in beginning band and other forms of music instruction. Our program is designed to give students a foundation of skills and confidence that they can use to bypass visual instruction by taking them through the first part of the beginner band curriculum in a non-visual manner that sets them up to succeed in mainstream band and music programs alongside their sighted peers.

Like all of Camp Bowen’s summer camp programs, Music Camp 2019 balances recreation and skills learning, with a focus on fun! At Camp Bowen, fun is at the core of what we do. Camp fires, hikes,, community outings, and board games are just some of the activities we offer. The skills taught through these fun activities prepare youth for truly life-long independence.

Full Details and Registration

To find out more or to register, go here.

Listening to Blind Canadians

Here is a video of blind Canadians talking about some of the challenges facing people who are blind in Canada. It was filmed at the Canadian Federation of the Blind Convention in Victoria last Spring and includes some of our staff and our colleagues from the Canadian Federation of the Blind and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind.

Listening to Blind Canadians from Thelma Fayle on Vimeo.

Join Us on Friday, February 22,2019 at 7:10 Pacific for the First Meeting of the Bowen Island Accessibility Group

Have you ever faced an accessibility-related barrier on Bowen or do you know someone who has? Are you interested in seeing the island become a more inclusive and accessible space? Are you a person with a disability looking for peer support on-island? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, come down to the Flex Room at the library on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 7:10 PM for the first meeting of the Bowen Island Accessibility Group (BIAG), an initiative of the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind. BIAG is a pilot project to create a support and advocacy group to bring Bowen Islanders together to explore ways of providing peer support and advocacy to people with disabilities, both visible and invisible, along with more generally applying creativity to making Bowen Island a more accessible and inclusive place. You don’t have to have a disability to participate, just a desire to see Bowen become more accessible and inclusive.

At this first meeting we will discuss about where we as a community want BIAG to go in the future. There will also be a chance to share about any accessibility-related barriers participants have had and/or any ideas people have for making Bowen more accessible and inclusive. There will be food provided, either sandwiches or pizza, we’re still finalizing that part. We already have guides in place for any blind or Deafblind attendees who need one and we are also working on getting sign language interpretation for the event.

To attend, please call Alex Jurgensen at: +1 (604) 947-0021 Extension 102, text +1 (778) 908-0521, or use any of these other contact methods to let us know you are coming before Friday, February 22, 2019 at 12 PM and let him know you are coming. If you have any accessibility-related accommodations you need in order to attend the event, please let Alex or another Camp Bowen team member know and we will work with you to find a solution.

We look forward to seeing you all on Friday. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you can’t make it to BIAG this Friday but still want to be involved, please contact Alex or another Camp Bowen team member and we can get you on the list to receive future updates about BIAG.

Warm regards,
The Camp Bowen Team

Staff Photos, Then and Now

Camp Bowen turned 55 this year and our team’s commitment is as strong as ever. Though there have been many challenges this past year, one of the pillars of Camp Bowen has always been the people who have come together to make the programs we all love and cherish happen. In reflection of this, here are two staff photos, taken 50 years apart. The first was taken in 1968 and the other this year.

4 Women stand, posing for the camera in the dining hall of the lodge. 1 Man stands at either end of the group.

Taken in 1968, this staff photo features the lodge staff in the dining hall of the lodge. Credit: Bowen Island Museum and Archives.



This staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired standing, posing for the camera wearing their orange staff shirts with the Camp Bowen logo emblazoned on the left side of the chest in blue.

Taken in 2018 at the Camp Bowen pub night fundraiser at Moose's Down Under in Vancouver, this staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired. From left to right: Alex Jurgensen, Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Peg Mercer, Sara Batt, and Aedan Staddon.

2018, A Year in Review

As 2018 winds down and we prepare to ring in 2019, we thought we’d take a moment and reflect on the year. 2018 has been a very busy, difficult, and rewarding year that has brought both challenges and positive momentum.

8 old books of various colours in a stack

In January, we announced that we had become a licensed publisher at the end of 2017. Building on this work, we have been busy developing an artificial intelligence tool, named Bailey, to aid the publishing and library industries in making books accessible to everyone. Revenue generated by licensing Bailey will go into funding our programs here at Camp Bowen. Work on Bailey will continue into 2019 and beyond as the digital publishing landscape continues to evolve and we are excited to see her learn and progress.

Jessica, Alex, Jocelyn, and Aedan sit behind a table with promotional materials on it.

Staff sit behind the Camp Bowen table at the 2018 national AEBC conference. From left to right: Jessica Gladysz, Alex Jurgensen, Jocelyn Gladysz, and Aedan Staddon.

In April, Alex, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Aedan staffed a table at the national Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) conference. Jessica spoke about Bailey at the conference, during a session put together by the National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS).

Also in April, the independent living skills training department took on a new student. He has been working with us ever since and we look forward to continuing to work with him into 2019.

Jessica, Jocelyn, Aedan, and Alex are sitting on a couch. Aedan is smiling and the rest are laughing, looking like they are all having fun.

Camp Bowen’s delegation to the 2018 national CFB convention on convention weekend. From left to right: Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Aedan Staddon, and Alex Jurgensen.

In May, Alex, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Aedan attended the national Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB) convention on behalf of Camp Bowen. They spoke at the convention about the importance of the covenant that governs the Bowen Island Lodge and about how it must be defended. They also spoke about the various programs and initiatives of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired.

This staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired standing, posing for the camera wearing their orange staff shirts with the Camp Bowen logo emblazoned on the left side of the chest in blue.

Taken in 2018 at the Camp Bowen pub night fundraiser at Moose's Down Under in Vancouver, this staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired. From left to right: Alex Jurgensen, Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Peg Mercer, Sara Batt, and Aedan Staddon.

In July, the whole Board of Directors, including Peg, Alex, Sara, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Aedan, organized and attended a pub night fundraiser in support of Camp Bowen at Moose’s Down Under pub in Vancouver. More than 30 guests came together for a fun night of madlibs, door prizes, a 50/50 draw, and great food.

Jordan, Jessica, Jocelyn, Aedan, and Alex kneeling in front of the Camp Bowen banner with the Showdown table in the background.

Camp Bowen volunteers at Bowfest 2018. From left to right: Jordan Parke, Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Aedan Staddon, and Alex Jurgensen. Photo credit: Lisa.

At the end of August, Alex, Jessica, Aedan, and Jocelyn, along with two additional volunteers, Jordan and Lisa, attended Bowfest, Bowen Island’s community fair. They sold Braille puzzle books designed for sighted people to decode, wrote up Braille bookmarks, and administered two 50/50 ticket draws. As usual, the organization’s tent also featured a Showdown table, provided to us by BC Blind Sports. Balloon animals were also created and given out to many a happy child.

All campers from the 2016 adult retreat on the patio of the Bowen Island Lodge with Deep Bay in the background.

All Campers from the 2016 adult retreat. Photo credit: Lorraine Ashdown.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing dispute with the Bowen Island Lodge and its owners, who wish to have legal protections for people with disabilities removed from the property via a rezoning application, the 2018 camping season was postponed. The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired remains committed to defending the rights of people with disabilities and will continue its work to oppose this rezoning into 2019. We hope to return to normal summer camp operations as soon as possible and appreciate your patience. If you have any questions or concerns or would like to know how to help, please see here or call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102.

In October, Sara Batt, who has served in various capacities on our Board of Directors since 2014, stepped down and has accepted the post of Transportation Committee Co-Chair. She brings an enthusiasm for and a vast knowledge of travel to the position and we look forward to working with her in her new role.

A wrapped box of Purdy's hedgehogs.

Image copyright Purdy’s

At both Easter time and Christmas, the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired conducted fundraisers selling Purdy’s chocolates. At Christmas time, we split the proceeds from our Purdy’s fundraiser with one of our partners, the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank AEBC, BC Blind Sports, the Bowen Island Community Foundation, the Bowfest committee, CFB, C-Lovers Burquitlam, Moose’s Down Under, the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society, and our countless other supporters, both individuals and organizations. Without you, we could not do the work that we do.

We have several other announcements we can’t wait to share with you but those will unfortunately have to wait until early 2019. In the meantime, we hope all of you have a safe and enjoyable New Year.

The Camp Bowen Team

Reminder: Get Your Tasty Purdy’s Holiday Treats and Support Camp Bowen and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick reminder that it isn’t too late to get your tasty Purdy’s holiday treats and support both Camp Bowen and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind at the same time. Orders must be in by 11:59 PM Pacific on this coming Wednesday, November 28 and can be picked up in Victoria, Bowen Island, Vancouver, and Surrey.

Note to users of screen readers: You don’t need to register before accessing the fundraiser. Just go to the link below, and find the box that asks for your email address. Then, Enter your email address and press “Join Campaign”.

Order now!

The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind will jointly receive 25% of the proceeds from this fundraiser directly from Purdy’s.

To arrange your pick up date and location or if you have any questions or concerns, please call +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102. Alternatively, you can call +1 (844) MYBOWEN (692-6936) extension 102.

Merry Christmas,
The Camp Bowen Team

Chocolates for the holidays!

Hello Everyone,

Christmas will be here before you know it, bringing with it family get togethers, visits with Santa for the children, and, of course, lots and lots of chocolate. This year, it is also bringing an opportunity for you to get your fix of Purdy’s delicious chocolates while supporting programs benefiting blind and Deafblind Canadians.

Dive into the holiday season with both featured items for Christmas and regular favourites such as: Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels, Peppermint Ice Miniatures, Turkish Delight, Sweet Georgia Browns, Hedgehogs – and much more!

The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually impaired provides its signature Summer camp programs and independent living skills training for blind and Deafblind Canadians, based on Bowen Island, BC. The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind offers independent living skills training in Victoria, BC through its Blind People In Charge, Home Stay, and Skill Focused programs.

Purdy’s has been making chocolates in Vancouver since 1907, and it’s still where they craft all your favourites today. Purdy’s uses only the highest quality ingredients like Canadian dairy, crunchy nuts that are roasted in-house, and only 100% sustainable cocoa. On top of supporting both the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, every purchase you make helps improve the lives of cocoa farmers in rural communities.

Christmas is just around the corner and Purdy’s chocolates are great treats to offer your friends and family over supper, as Christmas gifts, or just because. After all, who ever needed an excuse to eat chocolate?

Place your order online now!

You pay the same as you’d pay in-store or online, and the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind will jointly get 25% of sales.

You will need to register by entering your first name, last name, email address and creating a password. Once registered and logged in, you should be directed to our Christmas Fundraiser Campaign page. From there you are able to: invite other members, shop online, and pay for your orders.

Orders can be picked up at our four pickup locations: Victoria, Vancouver, Surrey, and Bowen Island. Please call +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102 before November 21, 2018 to arrange a pickup date, time, and location. You don’t pay for shipping!

Don’t miss the order deadline: November 28th at 11:59 PM Pacific.

We thank you in advance for your support of programs benefiting blind and Deafblind Canadians.

Please feel free to call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102 with any questions you may have about this fundraiser. For questions about our program offerings, please contact us.

Merry Christmas,
The Camp Bowen Team

July 24, 2018 Update On the Bowen Island Lodge Dispute

Dear Community,

On Monday, July 23, 2018, members from Camp Bowen went before Mayor and Council on behalf of the interests of persons with disabilities during public comments to share some of our concerns regarding the rezoning application of the Bowen Island Lodge. At the meeting we learned that Mayor and Council are required to consider all rezoning applications brought before them. Any comments we have made regarding Mayor and Council’s consideration at this stage stemmed from our misunderstanding of the Municipality’s rezoning procedure and we have made updates to our public information on this issue to reflect the Municipality’s procedure.

There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities and those of our Snug Point neighbours remain protected. Support from the entire Bowen Island and disability communities will be crucial to ensuring proper protection remains in place. The next step will be a public consultation process. Public consultation will be held at the Bowen Island Lodge at a date and time as of yet unknown to us. We feel this venue is not neutral enough for this process to be effective. We will be updating people as information becomes available through Facebook, our website, and our mailing list.

We urge the community to stand with us and make it clear to Mayor and Council through official channels that this rezoning application cannot go ahead and should be blocked at the first opportunity. Failure to protect this unique resource will result in a serious loss for the disability community and that of Bowen Island.

If you have questions or concerns, would like to get involved, or to keep up with updates on this situation, please check out our website, join our mailing list, or contact us directly at: +1 (604) 947-0021 Extension 102. You can join the mailing list and find more information here.

July 23, 2018 Update On the Bowen Island Lodge Dispute

Please see this post for important updates and corrections.

Dear Community,

On July 20, 2018, we were made aware of a report drafted by the bylaw office, dated July 13, 2018, regarding a rezoning application submitted by the owners of the Bowen Island Lodge, that will go before Mayor and Council on Monday, July 23, 2018. The owners of the Bowen Island Lodge wish to see amendments made to both the covenant governing the Bowen Island Lodge and “BOWEN ISLAND MUNICIPALITY LAND USE BYLAW NO. 57, 2002”. Proposed amendments to the covenant include but are not limited to: alteration of the Principal Use definition to remove primary rights of use from people with disabilities, removal of the maximum number of guests allowed to use the guestrooms, removal of a restriction limiting the number of days usable for secondary uses of the facility, increases to the number and length of permitted Assembly Events, and removal of a clause that requires the owners to bar excessively noisy users for a period of 1 year. In order to be able to alter the Principal Use definition to remove primary rights of use from people with disabilities in the covenant, the lodge’s owners are requesting that the definition of “Recreation, Training, and Meeting Centre” in “BOWEN ISLAND MUNICIPALITY LAND USE BYLAW NO. 57, 2002” be changed by removing the words “…for the care and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities…”

On May 2, 2018, we met with the municipal bylaw office to discuss our complaint. There were two subsequent meetings in May and June. The May meetings centred around Bylaw asking questions about our current stance on how we feel the covenant governing the Bowen Island Lodge is not being followed. At the June meeting, we were told that the owners of the property have filed a rezoning application that, if approved, would change the covenant. Bylaw expected that this would go before council in late July or in the fall. No further details on what in the covenant would be affected by the rezoning application were given at that time. We were also encouraged to reach out to the Bowen Island Lodge to seek resolution. As recommended by bylaw, a meeting was arranged; however, logistics were poor and the meeting took place without the presence of a bylaw mediator. As a result, the discussion that took place was unproductive.

The amendments the lodge’s owners are proposing strip rights from people with disabilities, including those who are blind, deaf blind, and visually Impaired. People with disabilities are a marginalized group that has very few opportunities to access spaces designated specifically for their use. For example, blind, deaf blind, and visually impaired people have no other legally protected training, meeting, and recreation centre in Canada. For this segment of the population, a legally protected recreation, training, and meeting facility represents the only means of meaningful socioeconomic advancement by way of access to quality independent living skills training. Legally designating and protecting facilities as “recreation, training and meeting facilities for the care and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities” ensures that people with disabilities are not systematically squeezed out of spaces in favour of business interests as is so often the case.

By amending the definition of “Recreation, Training, and meeting Centre” in “BOWEN ISLAND MUNICIPALITY LAND USE BYLAW NO. 57, 2002” to remove the words “…for the care and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities…”, the owners of the Bowen Island Lodge would effectively remove the rights of people with disabilities to have recreation, meeting, and training centres that are currently protected from business interests by the Land Use bylaw. This does not only affect the covenant governing the Bowen Island Lodge but would remove all protections for any future facilities wishing to use the designation to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities.. If these amendments pass, it will set a dangerous precedent that will have far reaching consequences for Bowen Islanders with disabilities and other Canadians with disabilities for generations to come.

We are disheartened to see that after over a year of attempting to resolve issues surrounding use of the Bowen Island Lodge by the Principal Use group with the bylaw office and an open complaint against the lodge, the bylaw office has chosen to recommend that Mayor and Council consider the rezoning application put forth by the Bowen Island Lodge. It is our position, speaking on behalf of people with disabilities, that this rezoning application must not move forward to ensure the continued protection of the rights of people with disabilities and those of our Snug Point neighbours.

We urge all community members to stand with us and protect the rights of people with disabilities and those of our Snug Point neighbours by making your feelings known to Mayor and Council by attending the Council meeting set for Monday, July 23, 2018 at 9:30 AM at Municipal Hall. If you cannot attend in person, please still let Mayor and Council know that you oppose the proposed amendments by submitting a letter of support for this cause. Letters can be sent by email to: mayorandcouncil@bimbc.ca or by writing to:

Mayor and Council
981 Artisan Lane,
Bowen Island, BC
V0N 1G2

To keep up with updates on this situation or to get involved, please check out our website, join our mailing list, or contact us directly at: +1 (604) 947-0021 Extension 102. You can join the mailing list and find more information here.

Thank you in advance for your support of this important issue.

Follow the Situation

You can follow the above situation as it unfolds in several ways. To get updates by email, you can add your email address to our public community mailing list by filling in your name and email address below. Alternately, you can follow our social media or let us know and we can give you a phone call with updates.




It Isn’t Too Late to Join Us at Camp Bowen’s Pub Night Fundraiser!!!

Important: Please reserve your spot before 9 PM Pacific on Thursday, July 12, 2018 so that we can submit final numbers to Moose’s Down Under.

The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired (CBSVI) invites you and your friends
to join us for an evening of summer fun at our upcoming Pub Night this Saturday, July 14 at Moose’s Down Under in Vancouver!

When:
Saturday, July 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm to 9:00pm
Where:
  • Moose’s Down Under,
  • 830 West Pender Street,
  • Vancouver

Please note: Transit directions are at the bottom of this post

Tickets:
$20.00 per person – Includes choice of hamburger, chicken, or veggie burger with fries or salad, beer, wine, or soft drink.
What:
Door Prizes, 50/50 Draw, food, and more.

You may purchase tickets online at:
https://campbowen.ca/tickets/
Or by calling: +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102.

You can also purchase tickets at the door on the day and time of the event but we need you to get in touch by phone first if possible. The above phone number is a great way to do that but you can also use any other method found on the contact page of campbowen.ca.


Proceeds will benefit future summer camp programs being planned for blind, visually-impaired, and deaf blind Canadians of all ages.

Transit/Walking Directions

Moose’s Down Under at 830 West Pender in Vancouver
is located on the south side of Pender between Howe and Hornby Streets

If Exiting Skytrain At the Granville Station

  1. Get off at Granville station.
  2. Exit the station at the Dunsmuir entrance which is just by the Keg on Dunsmuir.
  3. Once outside the entrance, turn left and walk a short distance to the southeast corner of Granville and Dunsmuir.
  4. Turn right (north) to cross to the north side of Dunsmuir Street and walk north a block to Pender.
  5. Turn left (west) and cross Granville Street.
  6. Walk west along the south side of Pender and cross Howe Street which is the next block.
  7. Continue walking west along Pender for about 1/3 block.
  8. The entrance to Moose’s Down Under has stairs going down on the right as you turn in off the street.

If Taking a Bus North on Granville

  1. Get off the bus at Dunsmuir.
  2. Walk north to the corner and follow directions 4-8 above.

If Exiting the Skytrain At Burrard Station

  1. Turn left (north and go a short distance along Burrard to Dunsmuir.
  2. Cross Dunsmuir to the north side.
  3. Turn right and cross Burrard to the east side.
  4. Turn left (north) and walk north on Burrard to Pender.
  5. Turn right (east) on Pender and walk east to Howe which is the next block.
  6. Cross Howe Street and walk about a half a block to Moose’s Down Under.

If you wish to be met by the Dunsmuir entrance of Skytrain or outside Moose’s Down Under, please let us know by calling:

+1 (604) 947-0021 Extension 102.